‘This Is What A Landless Labourer Does’

“I came into this field a year ago. We are landless.” “The income was insufficient.” “You know how sharecropping works!” “I also worked as a farm labourer.”

“Here, it is certain that you are earning daily…” “At least something…” “Rs. 7,000 a month.” “Yes, we move with the fair. 24×7 labour hours!”

said Mantu Ram, 30, of Rampur locality of Nalanda district of Bihar.

Joy: Behind the Scenes. At Bettiah, Bihar

“How many years?…for the past twelve years!” “Yes, landless…” “This (pleasure wheel) will go to Sonpur fair, it will take a day to unhinge…” “There is no time to talk…”

 said  Sanjay Kumar [featured image], 28, of Ramkrishna Nagar locality of Patna district of Bihar. 

As the in-charge of carnival rides stopped The Buoy from talking to labourers. He asked us to leave. The reason was clear: “the labourers in the lowest stratum of any business are the ones who are suppressed.”  This year, the fair, The Buoy learns, has been auctioned off to rich-rides-owners at an unreasonably high rate to earn high revenue. To extract profits, the owners have increased the ride-fares. But the pay-scale for labourers has remained almost the same. Sanjay and Mantu are like many other poor labourers who are forced to do odd jobs on critically low wages because of unemployment and lack of opportunity in Bihar, as our parallel reports have shown.

Please, feel free to share your thoughts about this profile at editor.thebuoy@protonmail.com. Do mention IUP4-5 in subject-line.

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